Klaas Knot: The European Central Bank's strategy review against the background of the Covid-19 crisis

Speech by Mr Klaas Knot, President of the Netherlands Bank, at the Euro50 Group Videoconference, 15 October 2020.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
20 October 2020

'It is fiscal policy that has to be in the lead in mitigating the macro-economic consequences of this prolonged public health emergency. Efforts that monetary policy can support by keeping financing costs low for all borrowers.' This was one of the messages governor Knot delivered at the Euro50 Group Videoconference. Knot spoke about the impact that COVID-19 will have on the ongoing ECB's monetary strategy review.


(I) Setting the stage

In my remarks, I want to take a look at current efforts by central banks to review their monetary strategies. I will do this from a euro area perspective.

To set the stage, let me describe how the macroeconomic environment in which central banks operate has changed markedly since 2003, when the ECB last reviewed its monetary strategy. This was the motivation for the ongoing review.

The main changes include:

1. The fall in the natural real rate of interest, often called r-star. While notoriously uncertain and dependent on modelling assumptions, estimates of the equilibrium interest rate have declined visibly

since the early 2000s (see Chart 1).